Calcutta: The Big Three — Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid — will not take part in this year’s NKP Salve Challenger Trophy. The selectors have decided to give them a rest keeping in mind the busy schedule ahead.
Team India ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his deputy Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan have also been rested from the limited overs tournament to be held in Ahmedabad from October 25 to 28, according to a BCCI media release.
The three teams — India Red, India Green and India Blue — will be led by Mohammed Kaif, Parthiv Patel and Virender Sehwag, respectively.
Bengal have two representatives — Manoj Tiwary in the Green and Ranadeb Bose in the Blue side. Solid performances will help both to force their way into India reckoning.
Predictably, those who have joined the Indian Cricket League didn’t get the nod.
“We have been playing cricket continuously. So the selectors felt the senior players should be given rest ahead of two crucial series,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.
Dhoni said in Vadodara on Thursday that quite a few players in his team had been playing non-stop cricket since mid-June, but there’s “no choice” when one was playing for the country.
Pakistan will visit India in November-December for five ODIs and three Tests, to be followed by India's tour of Australia.
Shah said that the squad for the ODIs against Pakistan would be picked during the Challenger Trophy.
Pakistan are scheduled to land in India on November 2. The first ODI is in Guwahati on November 6.
The Challenger Trophy is India’s premier domestic 50 overs-a-side tournament, but it remains to be seen how much interest this year’s edition will generate in the absence of India’s top players.
Viewed from the other perspective, the move to rest seniors will provide a chance to those who are looking to cement their place in the senior side as also some on the fringe of India selection.
India Red: Mohammed Kaif (captain), Karan Goel, Gautam Gambhir, S. Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Ravneet Ricky, Praveen Kumar, Mahesh Rawat (wicketkeeper), Pragyan Ojha, Sidharth Trivedi, Ishant Sharma, Pinal Shah, Shrikant Mundhe, Paresh Patel. Coach: Lalchand Rajput.
India Blue: Virender Sehwag (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Suresh Raina, Neeraj Patel, Arjun Yadav, Joginder Sharma, Ramesh Powar, Amit Mishra, V. Yo Mahesh, Ranadeb Bose, Swapnil Asnodkar, Rakesh V. Dhruv, Saurav Bandekar. Coach: Praveen Amre.
India Green: Parthiv Patel (captain/wicketkeeper), Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Murali Kartik, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar, Niranjan Behera, Iqbal Abdullah, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Gagandeep Singh, Anirudh Srikant, Satyajeet Parab. Coach: Venkatesh Prasad.
Oct. 25: India Red vs India Blue
Oct. 26: India Green vs India Red
Oct. 27: India Green vs India Blue
Oct. 28: Final.